- What is mediation?
- Solution-focused approach seeking compromise and cooperation
- Mediation sessions are formal meetings facilitated by a professional mediator
- Voluntary (all parties must agree to participate)
- Neutral environment (City building, 281 N. College)
- Content is confidential
- What are the advantages to mediation?
- Solutions are created by the participants; the court and/or mediators do not make decisions
- Mediation tends to improve ongoing relationships between neighbors
- Parties can work out their own payment plans for reimbursement, if necessary
- Mediation is usually less expensive than going to court or Small Claims Court
- Criminal misdemeanor ticket(s) may be dismissed
- How and when is mediation offered as an option?
When a municipal summons has been issued, an arraignment date is written on the ticket. Prior to the arraignment date the Municipal Court mediation coordinator reviews cases and determines if they might be appropriate for mediation. If mediation is an option, the coordinator will contact the parties who filed the complaint. If the parties are willing to participate in a mediation session, the coordinator contacts the party who received the summons and offers mediation as an option instead of going to court.
If the parties filing the complainant choose not to participate in the mediation process, the summons is referred back to the Municipal Court for disposition. The defendant may also choose to not use mediation. If this is the case, the defendant will then appear at his/her assigned date for arraignment.
Some of the common complaints that are considered for mediation are: noise, animal issues, trespasses, property maintenance and minor harassments.
- How does the mediation process work?
At the mediation session, each party is given the chance to share his/her experiences, feelings and concerns about the situation leading to the summons. The mediators then facilitate the discussion to help identify workable solutions that can be agreed upon by all parties. The process, while informal, is considered binding, as a final agreement will be drafted and filed with the Municipal Court. The actual content of the mediation discussion is confidential, allowing parties to be open and honest in their communication. Many times, misunderstandings of the past are cleared up in mediation, and a future plan in spelled out in terms all can understand and agree to.
- Will the mediators decide the outcome of the case instead of a Judge?
NO! Mediation sessions are guided by professional volunteer mediators who act as impartial facilitators, leading participants through a process that relies on open communication, compromise and a sincere willingness to resolve the problem(s) in a peaceful, practical and permanent manner. Mediators DO NOT decide who is right or wrong: rather it is the parties – the participants most affected by the problem – who find a solution that will work for everyone. The parties together draft the binding mutual agreement that spells out the resolution plan. It is important that the solution/agreement belong explicitly the participants.
- How long does it take?
Plan to reserve two hours for a mediation session, although it may take less time. Most sessions are scheduled in the early evening to accommodate work schedules; flexibility in scheduling is possible. Children are not permitted and the City does not provide childcare.
- What is the cost?
Mediation is offered to the defendant as an option rather than going to arraignment. The cost of the mediation is $50 and must be paid 48 hours prior to the scheduled mediation.
- Who needs to be at the mediation?
Only the people who are involved in the conflict.
- Attorneys are NOT allowed to attend
- Unrelated parties are not permitted to attend
- Where is the mediation sessions held?
City of Fort Collins PDT building, 281 N. College Avenue, 2nd floor (SW corner of College Ave. and Maple Street). Parking is on Maple Street.
- What about confidentiality?
All conversations and information shared in mediation are considered confidential, as outlined in C.R.S. 13-22-301, the Dispute Resolution Act. Mediation proceedings are protected from discovery through the judicial process. Tape and video recorders are NOT permitted. Mediators cannot be subpoenaed to court and all notes are destroyed following the meeting.
- What do I bring to or leave at home when attending mediation?
- Is the agreement enforceable?
When signed by all parties, the agreement (or Memorandum of Understanding) is filed with the Municipal Court and becomes part of the record. It is enforceable.
- What if an agreement is not reached?
If the parties are unable to reach an agreement concerning the summons, the case is returned to the Municipal Court and a new arraignment date will be set by the court. The defendant will then be notified about when he/she is to appear back in court.
- What does a successful mediation look like?
- Parties air old feelings, grievances, and put the past in the past
- Parties come up with mutually-acceptable solutions to a shared problem
- Agreement is submitted to the Municipal Court for review
- Parties leave with their problem solved
- Defendant’s summons is dismissed without prejudice, pending no more violations for 12 months
- What happens when the terms of the agreement are not complied with?
If the defendant does not comply with the terms of the agreement, the case can be reopened within 12 months from the date of the original violation. New charges may also be filed if there are additional new complaints. It is the responsibility of the parties to notify the Municipal Court if the terms of the agreement have been breached. This is very rare since the parties are the ones who created the terms of the agreement.
- How can I find out more?
Want to learn more about using Municipal Court Mediation? Call the Municipal Court Mediation Coordinator, Dan Beaty at (970) 224-6022 or send an email to ZGJlYXR5QGZjZ292LmNvbQ==.